DTLB Is Becoming Long Beach’s Hub for Craft Beer (and Creating a Community with It)

At first, the announcement that KTown staple Beer Belly would be moving into DTLB—smushed between Rainbow Juices on 3rd and Beachwood’s The Blendery on Long Beach Blvd.—seemed just what it was: a jubilating piece of news that DTLB was getting yet another establishment of grub’n’brews.

The piece read:

“After nearly two years of rumors and salivating hope, it is official: Los Angeles’s influential Beer Belly is opening up its second location in DTLB… Beer Belly has built a name for itself on two fronts since it opened in K-Town in 2011: its dedication to craft brews and its equally strong dedication to great grub. Take their ‘Crap for Craft’ event where—you guessed it—you can bring in what they call “crap beer” from giants like Bud and Miller and, for one cent, get a pour of locally crafted hop’n’malt goodness. (Which makes sense: the Hans hired the cicerone Christina Perozzi—the chick behind Santa Monica’s epic beer offerings at Father’s Office—to train Beer Belly staff.)”

Firstly, Long Beach should be rejoicing at the news. Like DTLB’s Padre—brought here by Angelino bar owner and restaurateur Jay Krymis—Beer Belly brings with it a big name that has always widely ignored the streets of Long Beach: LA.

Certainly, any Long Beacher will defiantly stand by the assertion that we don’t need the judging eyes of LA or San Diego looking at us—we’ll be just fine on our own. But the truth of the matter is that our pride is also connected to a vibrant, bourgeoning culture that accepts diversity. And the cog to culture is not “keeping it your own” but bringing in people from all over, including neighbors from the north and south.

And what Beer Belly (and Dog Haus, opening Friday along the Promenade) bring with them is none other than the cementing of DTLB as one of SoCal’s premiere craft beer hubs.

With Congregation taking the first dive into what was, at the time, very still water, since then, the scene has blossomed. You have Beachwood Brewery and BBQ, what could easily be described as Long Beach’s premiere beer joint that serve up multiple Great American Beer Fest-winning brews. (Their Milk Stout still gets to us after all these years.) You have Michael’s Pizzeria, whose small but might selection becomes a 2-for-1 deal on Tuesdays. You have Rock Bottom Brewery on Pine—bigger than most, for sure, even a tad corporate but nonetheless decent. You have Dog Haus, soon to be offering 20+ beers on tap. You have The Stave, offering up Euro-driven brews alongside its liquor-based cocktails. You’ve got BO-beau’s rooftap, complete with a rotating offering of 40+ craft brews.

And to bring it back to the almighty Beachwood? It is surely building its beerpire as the Beachwood Blendery, the local brewery’s newest endeavor, officially began selling bottles of its exclusive sour beers. Repeat: a brewing operation dedicated solely to the lambic. Call it hipsters-gone-wild or an obsessive love with Belgian brewing techniques—either way, its a distinctly unique offering that is contributing to…

DTLB’s Craft Beer Quarters.

Here’s why this is important from a communal standpoint: these businesses have altered the streetscape by not just physically making it better and safer and cleaner, they have more importantly brought feet to the streets. People walking and going from place to place is what makes a community feel safer and thrive. And when joints like Dog Haus and Beer Belly and BO-beau—the so-called outsiders—invest millions into renovating and recreating spaces while bringing people together with food and drink, you have a win-win situation.

Even better? It’s still pure Long Beach.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.